Monday, April 12th, 2010

Alex Gardner – I’m Not Mad

EUROPOP MONDAY continues with an eerily professional Scottish wunderkind


Martin Skidmore: He’s not quite as awful as you might expect of someone whose idol is Paolo Nutini. But it’s close.

Edward Okulicz: Brian Higgins in 2004: “[I]f we’d made records for everyone we’d been asked to over the last couple of years, I’d be a husk of a person by now. There’d be loads of money around, but the music would be terrible, and the depression would be raging through me“. Indeed, indeed. Gardner’s identikit pin-up looks are an ideal front for his music, which judging from this is low-impact dance ballads with bland platitudes and little in the way of hooks. I’m hearing this guy’s being tipped as the next George Michael, but if you can hear any of Michael’s wit, personality or gift for propulsive hooks, you’re a better listener than me.

Matt Cibula: It’s going…going…GOING…hooking…hooking…foul ball, out of play.

Anthony Easton: Electronic pulses, and an underage pretty boy; euro disco for teenage girls and chicken queens, but serviceable for what it is.

Chuck Eddy: The sad beauty of the synth melody — somewhere in the rainy neighborhood where Joy Division turns into the Pet Shop Boys — almost makes up for the singer’s drabness. But if there’s a song here, and I bet there is, he never puts it over.

Alex Ostroff: Apparently the young Mr. Gardner is Xenomania’s latest protégé, though you wouldn’t know it from listening to the track. He’s neither a sassy girl group nor a electropop diva. Instead, he’s got a rich and smooth baritone that glides over the squelchy low-end production — like “Call the Shots” with a touch of Timbaland’s early acid bass tones. While Xenomania’s recent discovery of subtlety has led to a handful of worthy songs, they’re at their best when impulsively stitching together three genres and four choruses into Frankenstein’s monsters of pop music. None of their previous forays into the black hole of 4/4 midtempo dance tracks have matched their glory days, and while Gardner’s certainly competent, he doesn’t elevate the material above its weaknesses.

Iain Mew: There’s something great in the way the cold, resolutely unflashy music rubs up against Alex’s broad crooning, never letting him sound completely comfortable and bringing out the emotion in a way that overblown string arrangements never could. Who knew that a synth-pop James Morrison would turn out to be a good idea?

Alfred Soto: The unusual timbre of Gardner’s voice — husky and dark — does wonders for his pussyhound-with-feelings act. Don’t concentrate too hard on the song’s incoherent Eurodisco sentiment though.

One Response to “Alex Gardner – I’m Not Mad”

  1. This isn’t half bad… dammit I should be saying this in a blurb and not in a comment. Well, last day of class was today so time to get back to Jukeboxing!